As I disclosed in a response today to another post, I recently purchased the Fine Woodworking DVD of the archived magazines (1975-2009). I purchased this only after complaining to their Customer Service about my inability to find some articles on the Online archive.
I was once a charter member of the Online service, but let it lapse about a year and a half ago. Needing to see some of the video's they now put on their website, I renewed it. They advertise that the Online website contains over 1300 archived articles from the magazine. All of which sounds like quite a lot, but in reality how close to all possible articles is that? Several times I would come up empty on articles that I knew existed. Thinking it was the Online search engines, I just muttered to myself. Recently I was determined to locate an article so I wrote an email to customer service and found out that the Online archive is limited due to copyright issues.
Long story short I was convinced to purchase the DVD of archived magazine issues because:
1. Gave me 20% off in advance of the sale they were going to have
2. Free shipping
3. The DVD has overcome the copyright issues and all article are on it except for only 26 pages out of 208 issues.
I am very happy with the DVD. You have thumbnails (or a list if you prefer that) to each magazine. The entire content is there, including the ads. It is just like having the magazine. They just pdf'd the entire issue. The search engine appears to work very well. I had bought the old CD sometime ago and it was terrible. This is a much better product.
As for the value of the Online membership? I think it may still have value, as most of the newer magazines articles are there. They apparantly have made sure that they own the content of the articles and are avoiding the problem they had. What will really make it worth it will be the new content like the video instruction.
I do know (in my mind at least), the DVD is worth its cost, especially if you can get it on sale!